A statue of a 19th-century abolitionist was defaced by protesters who apparently thought the man owned slaves, according to a media personality.

The statue is of John Greenleaf Whittier, a poet who spent 30 years writing articles and essays against slavery for numerous abolitionist publications.

“By the time he was twenty, he had published enough verse to bring him to the attention of editors and readers in the antislavery cause,” according to his entry on Poets.org. “A Quaker devoted to social causes and reform, Whittier worked passionately for a series of abolitionist newspapers and magazines.”

In fact, city of Whittier, Calif., where the statue was erected in 1987, was named after him.

“In 1833 he wrote Justice and Expedience urging immediate abolition,” Poets.org continued. “In 1834 he was elected as a Whig for one term to the Massachusetts legislature; mobbed and stoned in Concord, New Hampshire, in 1835.”

“He moved in 1836 to Amesbury, Massachusetts, where he worked for the American Anti-Slavery Society. During his tenure as editor of the Pennsylvania Freeman, in May 1838, the paper’s offices burned to the ground and were sacked during the destruction of Pennsylvania Hall by a mob.”

Now it seems that, even in death, Whittier was targeted by a mob once again who sprayed “Fuck Slave Owners” on his statue, despite the fact that the poet was a prominent Quaker abolitionist who was a household name in his lifetime.

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